OGT is here to Stay
by Julie Murawski, Sports Editor
Beware students! Getting a diploma will now be harder. This year's freshman class is the first class to have to take the new and improved Ohio Graduation Tests. These tests will replace the existing Ohio Ninth Grade Proficiency Tests. These tests are exceedingly more difficult than the existing tests. Mr. Joe Takacs, Assistant Principal, said, "From the questions that I've seen and the different resources, it is a much more difficult test. On last year's practice test we did [miserably]" The point of these tests is to hold Ohio schools accountable for their students' educations. These tests are, according to the OGT website, a, "...more rigorous measure of students' high school achievement." By law every student is required to pass the OGT or an alternate assessment.
Many schools around Ohio are finding themselves reviewing and redoing their curriculums to fit the format of the test. West Geauga High School is also checking, even though it has probably been teaching the correct things all along Mr. Sustin, freshman science teacher, said, "We've done a lot of scrambling to try to get ourselves in a position so the students are ready for the test\'85 there's a lot more pressure to teach it well; this test is hard."
Many people are against these test because they feel that teachers are now teaching to a test, not for content. Mr. Sustin does not feel that the science department has to make a lot of changes to the curriculum, as they were teaching the correct material already. Mr. Jack Torriello, teaching honors freshman math, said that he has to teach how to use the OGT calculators because students cannot use their own. When asked how he felt the students will do, he said, " Most of the honors math students will pass, but for the normal level kids it will be very difficult." The high school staff will be meeting all year to train teachers how to make the students more prepared for the test.
These tests are a part of President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act, which he signed into law on 1/8/02. This law is designed to educate all the children of America equally, no matter what their income, race, ability or background. The question is, are students who live in the suburbs going to do better on these tests than a student who lives in a city? Mr. Joe Marino, English teacher, said, "...students who live in the suburbs usually do better on standardized tests because of socioeconomic issues not related to intelligence."
The tests will measure content learned by the end of the 10th grade.
The tests cover five subjects: English (language arts), math, writing, science
and social studies. Students will write the test for the first time in the spring
of their sophomore years. If students do not pass one or more components on
the first attempt, they can continue to take the test as juniors and seniors.
Ohio teachers and other educators, parents, representatives of the business
community, and other citizens have been involved in the process of formulating
the test. Students will have up to 2.5 hours to take the test. The test includes
multiple choice and writing responses to some questions.
Other ways for students to receive their diplomas (if they do not pass the test) are if they meet the following requirements:
? Pass four of the five tests and have missed the fifth test by no more than ten points.
? Maintain a 97 percent attendance rate all through high school.
? Never been expelled in high school.
? Have a grade point average of (2.5 out of 4.0) in the subject missed.
? Participated in intervention classes.
? Obtain letters of recommendation from the teacher in the subject area missed.
All of this information was found on the website www.ode.state.us